Monday, March 6, 2017

March Update: More Progress (and some rambling)

I continued to gain momentum through the rest of February and through the first few days of March.

I finished up the adventure novella a couple days into March (although who's keeping that close of track, right?).

I also wrote and submitted a March Cafe story. I'm two for two this year, woohoo!

But since finishing up my February stuff, I am leaning toward a slump. I have a couple of things I could work on this month, but I haven't settled on anything, which means I haven't actually done much work on anything.

I really wanted to dive into the developmental edit of Online Dating for Demons, since I'd finally come to terms with the work it needs and did an editing treatment for it. But. When I sat down with my notes, that all to familiar feeling of disgust and exhaustion hit me.

I don't think I have it in me right now to do the massive edit this beast needs.

This poor novel. It keeps getting pushed back and moved up and then pushed back again. I know from my experience with Monsters of Lawrence that the first edit is always the hardest. You have to really break a novel and put it back together again, and that is scary and torturous.

I keep wondering if this novel will actually ever get there. With MoL, it was definitely a labor of love. I still love that book, even after half a dozen editing passes over five years. ODD...I have always hated it. I hated it when I was writing it. I never wanted to look at it again after I finished. When I got beta reader feedback for it, I made a list of things to do, and then trunked it.

I wonder if it should stay trunked? I mean, I know I was enchanted by it when I read through it to do the editing treatment. So there's something there that I love. I mean, part of it is that I'm daunted by the amount of work it needs. But it honestly doesn't need any more than Towers of Kansas did. I gutted that thing more than once to get it right.

Anyway. That book was slated for this month, but instead I'm working on the first episode of the second season of my adventure series. For a few days anyway. I should be getting a book to edit pretty soon.

So this month will be a bunch of poking at various things until I get that, and then some more poking until Camp NaNo starts in April. I'm planning on finishing up episode 2.1 in April, regardless of what I do in March.

I'll probably write a Cafe story, too. My goal is to do at least six stories for it this year, so if I can get them out on slower months, that'd be ideal.

Maybe I'll try to do more reading this month, too. I'm really struggling with my reading goal for this year. Nothing has really captured my imagination, so everything I've been reading has been a slog. I hope to find something good, soon. Otherwise I'm going to keep plodding through awful books that are short just to add books toward my goal.

Oh, one last thing before I end this for now. I did revamp my project timeline today. I do that when I want to feel like I'm doing something writing-related but am not actually writing. Hah. I now have most of the book projects I want to start on the timeline, including the whole adventure series, so I know when I can start releasing it. At my current rate, it'll be a few years yet. That's probably better. Gives me time to write, edit, and maybe find someone who I trust to proof them for me. I keep thinking maybe I'll throw them at Carina. Sure, the romance doesn't end with a HEA until the very last episode (oh, spoilers and stuff), but that is the over-arching plot. I could probably sell it as urban fantasy, even though I kind of consider it action adventure fantasy. Maybe even mystery, because there is one in each installment. It's basically Indiana Jones meets Stephanie Plum.

I really should save it for myself. I'm getting a bit obsessed with the idea of being published, so I'm endlessly tempted to throw everything I can at the wall to see what sticks.

But writing isn't like making spaghetti. I need to wait until something is completely done cooking before serving it to people, otherwise they'll get salmonella or something.

I still have three years and change before I had hoped to reach my goal. I can take my time at this stage.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February Update: Measurable Progress!

I did finally get past my funk, found my mojo, and have gotten back to work on things. Yay.

I got a line edit done on Monsters of Lawrence. It's as polished as it's going to get without a second pair of eyes. I'm going to start querying it again soon. Sometime this month.

I picked up the adventure novella I bailed on last year. It's not done yet, but it's coming along. I hope to have it finished by the end of February.

I submitted a February story for the Cafe, and I've started working on one for March.

I've brainstormed ideas for two different worlds. One is a high fantasy world that came from a dream. The other is, strangely, straight fiction, and came about the same way Monsters of Lawrence did, just without the fantasy elements. I asked myself, what would I do in this situation? And a book idea appeared, from start to finish.

I dunno if I'll ever do the fiction book, but it's there in case I decide I want to. It's full of cliches and tropes, but so am I, so that's fitting, I suppose.

The writing group and the Cafe have undergone some major revamping over the last month and a half. It's been stressful since I don't like change, but I know it's for the best. The growing pains are mostly past.

We're decentralizing responsibility in the writing group, emphasizing that we're more of a meetup slash co-op than a structured writing group. We're encouraging people to get in there and do what they want, and that leadership of the group just maintains the framework for that to happen. My friend and I are working on a FAQ and a new banner. I'm excited but have some trepidation. I don't know if it's going to work or even change anything.

The Confabulator Cafe got a facelift. Things are updated and more streamlined. We used to be a blog, and it looked like a blog. Now we are essentially a magazine, so it looks more like a magazine. I wasn't completely convinced it needed a change, but I do like the updates, and several changes make my job easier.

I'm still struggling with depression and chaos in various relationships, so I still have days where I literally cannot work, despite the desire to (or days when I have time to work, I just don't). But I think, more often than not, I'm making progress in the ways I can. I count brainstorming ideas, researching literary agents, and editing as progress. I don't have to be writing to be making strides toward my goals, even though most of my goals are word-count based these days.

I am still tracking projects and word counts (and editing hours) on the tracking spreadsheet I developed, but I also joined MyWriteClub with a few of my friends. It's a good way visually see the progress I'm making on my various projects.

I keep plugging along, through good days and bad. Hopefully my funk is gone, for the most part.

Until next year, probably. Sigh.

Just gotta make the time in between count for more!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January Update: Accomplishments and Goals

I didn't manage my "where am I going, where have I been" post last month, so I decided to do a recap of 2016 and a look ahead at 2017 for my January post.

The bad news first. I never got my writing mojo back last year. Three months I was dead in the water. I never finished that dream story for the Cafe. I did find an ending for one story I was working on, but haven't written it. I managed to pull out a story the day before the post went live on the Cafe about something completely different, so I didn't let the Cafe down. But it wasn't the story I wanted to tell.

I didn't keep with my timeline for 2016. I had planned on finishing up Book 3 this month, but I still haven't written more than a couple thousand words on it. And I never did finish the last episode of the first season of my adventure novel.

I did not participate in National Novel Writing Month for the first time since I found out about it over a decade ago.

I missed several writing meetings, write-ins, and get togethers.

But. Good news. In 2016, I:
  • Finished editing Monsters of Lawrence
  • Finished writing Towers of Kansas, which I started back in 2012
  • Did first round edits for Towers of Kansas
  • Finished writing episode three of my adventure series
  • Wrote episode four of my adventure series
  • Started episode five of my adventure series
  • Finished writing the first book in the Druid Wars series
  • Did an editing treatment for Online Dating for Demons so it's ready for dev edits
  • Wrote a flash fiction for the 24-hour writing contest, which is currrently on submission
  • Wrote seven stories for the Confabulator Cafe
  • Managed the Cafe so that it had at least four stories every single month in 2016
  • Spoke on six panels and did a reading at ConQuest
  • Wrote a story-in-a-bag for ConQuest
  • Attended my first WorldCon
  • Wrote twelve blog posts for the year (even if it wasn't one a month, it was close)
  • Overall, wrote over 115,000 words on various projects and spent countless hours editing
  • And even though it wasn't ready, I did query Book 1 with six different agents

In addition to all of that writing, I also edited two novels and three novellas for three different clients.

I had a solid year. I made the project timeline. I followed it until the last couple of months. I cataloged all of my stories and found ways to fix them all. I made concrete goals and good progress toward them.

So. This year, my goals are to:
  • Write Scions of Mythos
  • Sell or self-publish Monsters of Lawrence
  • Send Towers of Kansas to beta readers and incorporate their edits
  • Finish the first season of my adventure novellas
  • Start the second season of my adventure novellas
  • Write at least six stories for the Cafe (and keep the Cafe running)
  • Edit Druid Wars Book 1 for beta readers
  • Start writing Druid Wars Book 2
  • Do dev edits for Online Dating for Demons
  • Help run Reader Con in October
  • Write a blog update every month, even if I have nothing to report.

It's ambitious for me, especially since it's a lot more of the same, which is stuff I've been struggling to work on for the last three months without any luck.

But I did learn some valuable lessons. One, timelines are great, but they have to be flexible. Two, I will get burned out, so I have to work hard during the good months and go easy on myself during the tough ones. Three, NaNoWriMo is time for new projects, not continuing old ones. I need to keep expanding the various worlds I have at my disposal, and I will do better with a clean slate than trying to continue in other worlds for NaNo.

It seems daunting now, in the depths of my SAD, but I know I won't be in this pit forever. I will write again. And I will see one of my books in print this year, even if I have to put it out there myself.

And thus begins year six of this blog! Only four more years.

It's crazy how time flies.